Michael Rodd has continued his stellar form in his brief Brisbane visit to ensure NSW made a flying start in the State of Origin jockeys series at Eagle Farm.
Rodd, who rode four winners at Doomben on Friday, steered comeback horse Arki ($9) to a close win in the first heat of the series on Saturday.
He then came from near last on in His Stride ($5) to win the second heat and take the maximum 20 points for the first day.
The good news for other jockeys is that Rodd is going on holidays on Sunday with Byron Bay and Rockhampton on his itinerary
“I may be riding for NSW but I am a Queenslander also having served my apprenticeship here and it is good to be back,” Rodd said, who has just completed his second year in Singapore.
Tim Clark picked up four points for a third and an unplaced ride to give NSW the overall lead with 24 points.
Trainer Rex Lipp said In His Stride would continue his campaign with several races on magic Millions day as his aim.
“He had no luck last start when caught out in the breeze but he was suited today when the pace was really on,” Lipp said.
Arki, now a six year old, ran in the Rough Habit Plate and Grand Prix but spent two years off the racetrack before winning at the Gold Coast first-up.
“He always showed plenty but injured a tendon and missed 12 months. But when he came back he broke a pedal bone and missed another year,” trainer Kelly Doughty said.
The next two days of the series, which features jockeys from five states and New Zealand, will be at Doomben on December 24 and the Gold Coast on January 7.
Points: NSW (24), Queensland (9), New Zealand (9), Victoria (4), South Australia (4) and West Australia (4).